Game On for Super Bowl XXVIII

Local businesses warm up to play their part in football’s biggest game

For football fans, it is like a second Christmas. Those watching the game at home get to work early roasting the chicken wings and making the guacamole dip while they eagerly don their team’s colors. Those attending the Super Bowl, whether they traveled 10 miles or 1,000, look forward to the fanfare and tailgating like children await Santa.

But what spectators may not stop and think about is how much work and how many resources it takes to put on an event this large. The players’ uniforms from this year’s Super Bowl in New Orleans have not even been washed yet, but businesses in New York and New Jersey are already knee-deep in preparations for next year’s event.

Although MetLife Stadium seats 83,500, hotels, restaurants, and attractions are planning for an influx of more than 200,000 people in the days leading up to and during the big game. This influx of visitors to the region translates to large economic impact on local businesses.

A Super Bowl so big it takes two states to host it

Although the game will be held at MetLife Stadium in Rutherford, NJ, the close proximity to New York City has created a beehive of activity and is thus dubbed the “Super Bowl so historic, it takes two states to host it.”

“Part of the [Super Bowl host] committee’s charter is to make sure both states benefit as equitably as possible. This will be one of the most exciting things that happened in the New York metro area, and it should bring in a ton of economic business in the region,” says Barry Bluestein, COO and managing partner at Source Communications, a marketing and design firm that created the NY/NJ Super Bowl Host Committee logo and advertising campaign. “We are working with the host committee to make sure both New York and New Jersey get excited, and we want consumers from both states to take advantage of all the fun things that happen during Super Bowl week.”

Even the logo depicts the unity of the region as it prepares for game day. MetLife Stadium is host to both the New York Jets and the New York Giants, so the logo incorporates both the Jets’ emerald green and the Giants’ stoic blue.

Source Communications is working hard to get the word out that it takes between 15,000 and 20,000 people—many of them volunteers—to present an event this large. It is a great way for locals to get involved in the many events (the details of which cannot be disclosed at this time) that will be taking place prior to and during the big game.

“We want to get the market interested and involved in the game,” says Bluestein.

But volunteers and staff alike should suit up before heading outdoors. This will be the first outdoor, cold-weather game in Super Bowl history, so take advice from New England Patriots fans: lots of layers and warm beverages are a must.

Booming business

Judy Ross, director of the Meadowlands Liberty Convention and Visitors Bureau did a fact finding trip to Indianapolis during the Super Bowl in 2012 and noted that restaurants had lines out the door and around the corner. She expects that local businesses will consider adding staff and extending their hours of operation leading up to and during the big game to accommodate the additional demand.

Toni Pinto, general manager of Renaissance Meadowlands Hotels, notes that the company has already set aside rooms for the NFL and will be offering three-, five-, and seven-day packages to other guests.

One-night availability will be at a premium, if they are available at all, says Pinto.

That is because the Super Bowl is not a one-day event. Camera crews, executives, and others associated with game day will be arriving days, if not weeks, ahead of time. In addition, the Super Bowl host committee has created “huddle zones” where various fun events will take place in the days leading up to February 2.

Part of the reason for the huddle zones is that unlike Indianapolis, which has a stadium in its own back yard, the New York/New Jersey region is more spread out. Rather than making locals travel all over the region to take advantage of the experience, the Super Bowl Host Committee is bringing the events to the community.

“The NFL has their events, and the committee has sanctioned events, and then there will be non-sanctioned events, like parades, so communities can enjoy the enthusiasm of the games,” says Ross.

Sideline fun

Local attractions are also getting in on the fun of game day. The NY/NJ Super Bowl Host Committee has been in discussions with Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament in Lyndhurst, NJ to provide dinner and entertainment to the shuttle drivers who will be busing fans from hotels to the stadium and back, says Ricardo Salazar, marketing and sales manager for Medieval Times.

Because there will be no parking on site the day of the game, notes Ross, there will be plenty of shuttles in operation. Should Medieval Times win the contract, it will provide the traditional Middle Ages dinner (half a chicken, a pork rib, a potato, a tomato bisque soup, a dessert, and two rounds of beverages—in case you were wondering), a jousting match, and big-screen monitors to watch the game. The approximately 300 shuttle drivers will need to leave during the third quarter of the game to get back to the stadium, a mile east of the attraction.

The Liberty Science Center in Jersey City will also be ramping up its game September 28, 2013 through March 2, 2014 with Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  Football fans visiting the area for the Super Bowl will want to check out the exhibit, which includes more than 200 artifacts from the Pro Football Hall of Fame, videos, interactive displays and a hometown tribute spotlighting the Giants and the Jets.

Guests to the area can also take advantage of on- and off-Broadway theaters, museums, public parks, and a short train ride into Manhattan for some New York-style sightseeing.

Regardless of what color jerseys fans wear for the Super Bowl, the game will be a win for the local economy and will be felt for many games to come.

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Joe Garavente

Joe Garavente

Joe is the director of publications and communications for Meadowlands Media. He oversees editorial, advertising, production and distribution for all Meadowlands Media digital and print products. Meadowlands Media is the media and communications division of the Meadowlands Chamber, Meadowlands Live! | Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Meadowlands 2040 Foundation. Meadowlands Magazine—which has been serving the region’s business community for over 40 years—is the flagship publication of Meadowlands Media and reaches over 50,000 business owners and executives. It is the official publication of the Meadowlands Chamber. Meadowlands Media has also grown to publish for consumer, business and visitor audiences across print and digital platforms, offering readers critical information and advertising partners prime exposure for their brands. Joe can be reached at (201) 939-0707 or JGaravente@meadowlands.org

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